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Salvaraja Aarthee: Don’t rush to grow up

JUL . 30 2020
Peking University, July 30, 2020: Speaking fluent Chinese, Aarthee seems no different from Chinese girls though she is really a Malaysian international student at Peking University. After almost five years in Beijing, Aarthee is well adjusted to life here. She described the four years at PKU as the most wonderful and unforgettable period of time in her life. “You don’t need to rush to grow up,” she said. “The college life is unrepeatable, so enjoy it.”

Bond with PKU

When Aarthee decided to study abroad, China was not her only choice. The reason why Aarthee came to PKU was simple. “Were it not for the scholarship, I wouldn’t have come to PKU and met so many friends here,” Aarthee said. After deliberate consideration, she chose to enter the School of Economics and study International Economics and Trade. Her four-year unforgettable experience started right here.

In her college life, Aarthee obtained a lot through diverse courses. She recommended several interesting electives, including Introduction to Dance, Practice of drama and A Taste of Botany. As a language lover, she also took Greek, Korean and Japanese lessons. She said that these courses covered diverse fields and gave her an opportunity to know more about the world. Although she could not dig deeply in every course, taking different electives really broadened her vision.

Aarthee (second from right in the first row) in the volleyball team of the School of Economics

The most valuable things Aarthee obtained during her college life was “independence”. “When I was in Malaysia with my family, I even dared not to go to the bank on my own,” Aarthee smiled and said. After coming to China, things changed a lot. She had to do everything on her own for she could no longer depend on someone else. Things were not that smooth at first. She and her friends were even cheated when looking for a house. Even though she said casually that the experience of being cheated was a paid course, the hardship of living in a foreign country can only be imagined.

Precious friends

For Aarthee, PKU is more than a place to absorb knowledge; it is also a place where she met precious friends. Before coming to China, she had no idea of what she was going to experience at PKU. When first entering the university, she felt stressful by the outstanding PKU students. Little by little, people she met helped her go through anxiety and these experiences became part of her colorful memory at PKU.

There were those who helped her with the study. To catch up with difficult core courses, Aarthee struggled a lot at first. She described herself as a “lucky one” because she received warm help from her classmates. She can still remember her friend spending hours coaching her microeconomics course: “We just sat on the steps in the teaching building. She explained every detail to me without the slightest impatience.” She also thanked another friend a lot who always saved a seat for her in class, as well as the lovely girl who explained a knowledge point to her patiently in higher mathematics class. These tiny actions may not be recalled as lucidly by her friends, but to Aarthee who received the kindness, these moments were treasured greatly. “Without them, I wouldn’t be able to graduate that smoothly,” Aarthee said. With the help of her friends, Aarthee gradually got rid of her anxiety and formed a good mentality towards her study. She said that sometimes what trapped you was not your ability, but your mentality. Once you changed that, things may go more smoothly than you could imagine.

Aarthee also found a sense of belonging in the school volleyball team. Since Aarthee joined the team, she has been keeping close friendship with team members. She and team members are more like a family. In a winter holiday, she travelled around several provinces of China with her friends, and spent the Spring Festival at one of her friends’ home. “I really enjoy the feeling of playing together with them on the court,” Aarthee said. “I still often go back to play volleyball nowadays.”

Aarthee met another group of important friends when took part in a youth leadership program. Although these friends now live in different parts of China or even abroad, they still keep in touch with each other. “Sometimes I feel that I have friends everywhere,” Aarthee said.


Aarthee (right) and her friends

About the future

After graduation, Aarthee chose to work in ByteDance, a Chinese Internet technology company. Aarthee said that she didn’t like changes. Since most of her friends and social relationships are here in China, and China is where the Internet industry grows rapidly, Aarthee decided to stay. When Aarthee was looking for a job, ByteDance was in need of a Malaysian who could speak fluent Chinese and English to deal with affairs in Malaysia. Aarthee was just the right person they were looking for. Additionally, she herself was interested in getting along with different people, so she joined the company. Fortunately, she got the position just before her visa expired. Although tired sometimes, she feels good about her present situation.


Aarthee (first from left in the first row) and her colleagues

Recalling her college life, Aarthee said she fully enjoyed her precious four years at PKU and met life-lasting friends. What she wants to deliver to PKU students is to cherish the free time on campus. “Don’t rush to grow up,” Aarthee said. “Just do your own things well and go enjoy your college life.”

Written by: Wang Yupin
Edited by: Yan Shengnan